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We asked: What issue is most important to you in the upcoming elections? Voters answered.

In 2024, WNIJ will be more than a destination on just Election Night for results. Throughout the coming year, we are dedicating our focus on asking voters what issues are the most important to them.

During recent candidate meet and greets hosted by the League of Women Voters of Greater Rockford, WNIJ surveyed members of the public about their voting questions and concerns.

The questions were developed by America Amplified, a community engagement journalism initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

We are asking:

What issue is most important to you in the upcoming elections?

    Where do you get your election news and information?

      How do you think reporters can cover elections better?

      Here's what we heard:

      • We learned people want reporters to be more aggressive with fact-checking.
      • We learned that paywalls make it difficult for people to access accurate and reliable election news.
      • We learned people want candidates to be talking about access to affordable healthcare.
      • We heard voters want to know about development opportunities in their towns.
      • We heard voters voice concerns about corporate money in politics.
      • We learned people get their news from multiple sources, but especially local TV, radio, & online outlets. Many find links to news stories on social media platforms, especially Instagram & TikTok. People also find election information on Ballotpedia and the League of Women Voters voting guide.
      • We learned people are interested in how the candidates this year will address climate change and renewable energy options.
      • We learned people want more accountability in their elected leaders and heard from some residents who believe policy should address term limits.
      • We heard from first-time voters, still in high school, who are concerned about drug use among their peers and how candidates will approach drug policy.
      • We heard from those same young voters about concerns about how they will pay off college debt even before they begin their degrees.
      • We heard about concerns about navigating FAFSA and how many families will qualify for assistance.
      • We heard that people feel election news coverage overall is too negative.
      • We learned that younger voters don't always trust the same news outlets their parents follow.
      • We learned that people think that gerrymandering is too prevalent in Illinois districts.
      • We heard from people who want to know more about how candidates will address issues related to IVF, reproductive rights, and "right to die" legislation.
      • We learned people are concerned about increasing voter apathy and threats to American democracy.
      • We heard people who think some reporters are reluctant to challenge sources they interview.
      • We heard from people who feel there is too much "horse race" or play-by-play election coverage.
      • We heard people want to know how the candidates will address immigration and asylum policy as well as support systems available for immigrants.
      • We learned people want to ensure that youth are engaged in the electoral process.
      • We heard from voters who want candidates to protect the rights of transgender children and their families.
      • We heard from voters who think reporters should do a better job outlining what is at stake in election coverage.
      • We heard about concerns of voter suppression and access to voting.

      We are listening and learning how to better cover elections and we need your help.

      A candidate meet and greet held in Roscoe
      League of Women Voters of Greater Rockford
      A candidate meet and greet held in Roscoe

      Election 2024 Mission Statement

      WNIJ believes in the value of an informed vote.

      An informed voter has the information necessary to evaluate candidates and issues to make decisions using the power of their ballot.

      That's why we believe election coverage should go well beyond just a rundown of results you hear on Election night.

      Our coverage will be shaped throughout the year by directly engaging with people who live within the communities we serve and not driven by rehearsed talking points from candidates or outside agenda or influence. 

      In 2024, WNIJ will highlight areas of northern Illinois that have experienced dramatic shifts in the electorate over the past decade.

      We will provide election information that is free, accessible, and available in a variety of formats and platforms and en español.

      The League of Women Voters of Greater Rockford
      America Amplified (Corporation for Public Broadcasting)
      Illinois Public Radio stations